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Two Arkansas State Teams Advance To Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition Semifinals, Finals


JONESBORO, Ark. — Two teams from Arkansas State University’s College of Business have advanced to the semifinal and final rounds of the prestigious 14th Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Business Plan competition. The teams will make oral presentations Tuesday, March 18, and Wednesday, March 19, at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock. The Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF), an affiliate of the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, manages the competition.

A-State joins 12 advancing semifinalist undergraduate and six graduate teams from seven state colleges and universities and will make a 20-minute presentation to volunteer judges from the state’s business and entrepreneurial sectors. Afterward, the students will answer questions from judges for 15 minutes.

“LaunchPad Invents, LLC” is the undergraduate business plan submitted by Arkansas State students Kelli Crow, Danielle Clark, Jade Martin, and Clarissa McMickle. The team was able to formalize an idea from an inventor/entrepreneur working with business consultant Robert Bahn at the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and developed the plan while enrolled in a small business class last fall and family business in the spring.

The idea involves the production and distribution of the “Wedger Pillow,” a fold-and-carry pillow that can be used for expectant mothers and nursing home patients who may endure back problems that prevent them from having a good and relaxed rest. The team will make the oral presentation on Tuesday for the semifinals with the goal of presenting the next day in the final round and compete for the elevator pitch competition, a 90-second presentation in front of the audience, during the awards luncheon.

“Tethystructure” by students Chenoa Summers, Jack Chiu, and Bob Vernocy is a finalist in the graduate division. This team took a class last semester with Dr. Ross Carroll, Associate Professor of Physics, and the business plan was developed around Summers’ thesis. The plan involves the production and distribution of a UV and Titanium Dioxide reaction portable system that can filter water under extreme conditions. Particularly, this system can become very useful in developing countries. The team will present on March 19 and will also compete for the elevator pitch competition during the awards luncheon.

Once again, teams will compete for cash prizes totaling $144,000, which will be awarded during the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup awards luncheon, Wednesday, April 9, at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

“We are sending winners and competitive teams. LaunchPad won the People’s Choice Award in the G-60 elevator pitch in Jonesboro in November 2013. Tethystructure won the Catalyst Innovation award. Both teams won first place in the A-State business plan competition last year, undergraduate and graduate respectively,” said Dr. Erick Chang, Associate Professor of Management and academic advisor for the Business Plan Competition.

“And this year we have time to improve the plans with at least two things. One is working with the Delta Entrepreneurship Network about getting the students in contact with potential communities and angel investors who will want to locate the businesses, and the second is using their winnings in the Governor's Cup as their initial start-up investment in the companies. Each team has already won $1,000.”

Dr. Chang also noted that the business plan competitors will have some interaction with the highly successful Arkansas State Debate Team to polish on presentation skills.

“In that regard, there is an inter-disciplinary approach from multiple departments, colleges, and faculty.”

The 2014 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup chairman-level sponsors for the competition are Arkansas Business; Delta Plastics; Farm Bureau; and Money & Politics Magazine. Sponsorships and tables for the event are still available.

The Arkansas Capital Corporation Group of companies empowers entrepreneurs by providing capital in conjunction with community banks to businesses through its capital availability products and advocating for entrepreneurs through capital, educational, and technological improvements. The Arkansas Capital Corporation Group serves as the platform from which new opportunities are launched.

In addition to the flagship company, Arkansas Capital Corporation, there are seven affiliate and partner companies including, Six Bridges Capital Corporation, Arkansas Capital Relending Corporation, Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation, Heartland Renaissance Fund, Connect Arkansas, Pine State Regional Center, and SouthWind Analytics. To learn more, visit www.arcapital.com.

AEAF was established in 1999, and is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to education-based initiatives that promote and foster the development of innovation and entrepreneurship within Arkansas. With broad support from the state’s business community, AEAF’s purpose is to nurture people and ideas to generate future Arkansas entrepreneurs.

The 2014 semi-finalists and finalists are:

Undergraduate Innovation Finalists
Arleesa, LLC – John Brown University
BioBotic Solutions – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
PUREnovation, Inc. – Ouachita Baptist University

Graduate Innovation Finalists
Datavis – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
HemaNotics – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
LumaDrop – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Undergraduate Semi-Finalists
ABC Organic Soul Food – Arkansas Baptist College
Anova Energy – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
Arleesa, LLC – John Brown University
BioBotic Solutions – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
Funding Fathers – John Brown University
Guardian Angel – Harding University
Hitch-A-Que – Harding University
IDA: Inexpensive Daily Assistant – Harding University
LaunchPad Invents, LLC – Arkansas State University
ServeNow – Ouachita Baptist University
TruBake Technologies – John Brown University
WaterPulse Technologies – Ouachita Baptist University

Graduate Finalists
Datavis – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
HemaNotics – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
LumaDrop – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
talent – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
Tethystructure – Arkansas State University
The Argenta Center – Hendrix College